Severe power and water shortages cripple Addis Ababa

Power outage hits while Hillary Clinton gives a speech at the African Union in Addis Ababa - Credit: Susan Walsh/NYT

September  25, 2013 — Since mid-June, severe power and water shortages have crippled Addis Ababa, leaving its residents and businesses to adjust without life's most basic necessities.

To conserve energy, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation has been forced to ration power by cutting electricity to the city three days and even more at a time.

"There's no power, no running water, everything is a mess," said Addisu Selassie, a 36-year-old teacher from Addis Ababa. "We can not live like this. This is hell for me."

Many of its city residents have taken to social networking sites to air their frustrations with the governments mishandling of power and water supplies.

"Still getting worse! No electricity for days. Always dark. At least Woyannes [ruling regime] should have the decency to explain the problem." Said an anonymous Addis resident on Topix, a forum popular with Ethiopians. "But that is hard to do for arrogant morons who have nothing but contempt to the people."

Frustrated by the lack of power and running water, Eyob Zewdie, an Addis resident, took to Twitter to ask if this was an experiment on the city residents to see how they'd cope.

Sources say these outages are caused by years of mismanagement by the regime and that these prolonged power and water cuts will likely be the new norm for the city's three million inhabitants.

Al-Shabab kills over 100 people in Westgate Mall in Nairobi

September 21, 2013  — The armed group al-Shabab has claimed it has killed over 100 people in a Naroibi shopping center Saturday evening, in one of the largest attacks on Kenyan soil in recent years.

According to their spokesperson on Twitter, the militants attacked the mall for what they say is retribution for the innocent Muslim lives shelled by Kenyan jets in Lower Juba.

The group says it only attacked "Kuffar" (non-Muslims) and says its fighters will not accept any negotiations with the Kenyan government.

Local reports indicate at least 500 people have been shot and 24 killed, while hundreds are being held captive by the militant group.

Westgate mall is Kenya's most upscale shopping center. Many expats and foreigners frequent the mall which likely made it an idle target for the group.

Four Ethiopian Air Force Captains Defect to Eritrea

Photo: Former Ethiopian Air Force Pilot who defected to Canada in 2004

September 19, 2013  — Four Ethiopian Air Force Captains defected and joined Ginbot 7, an exiled opposition group based in neighboring Eritrea, according to the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) in its nightly broadcast.

The Amesterdam-based news network says the four pilots had recently completed missions in Darfur under UN peace keeping mission and had previously played a major role in the 2006 Ethiopian invasion of Somalia.

The names of these senior captains who abandoned the TPLF regime in Addis Ababa are Cap. Aklilu Mezene, Cap. Tilahun Tufa, Cap. Getu Worku and Cap. Biniam Gizaw.

More alarming for the regime, the defecting pilots are said to have taken at least two SU-27 jet fighters, costing US$30 million each, to Eritrea, according to a source in Addis Ababa, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals.

Ethiopia is no stranger to high profile military defections. In 2005, eight Ethiopian air force pilots, who were training in Israel, defected and claimed asylum at an Eritrean embassy in Israel.

Similarly, in 2006, over 300 Ethiopian troops, including Brigadier General Kemal Gelchu, along with his trusted colonels, defected to Eritrea. 

Why did Arkebe Equbay defect to the United States?

Why did Arkebe Equbay defect to the United States?

In what is a clear sign of infighting within the TPLF regime, Arkebe Equbay, a senior Ethiopian official, defected to the United States and is currently residing in the Denver area, a source familiar with the situation informed Durame by phone.

Arkebe, who was on a visit to the United States, reportedly claimed asylum after an unnamed informant working with the secretive Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service tipped him off that he would be incarcerated upon his return to Ethiopia.

This defection is a colossal blow to the regime, which at one point, regarded Arkebe as the heir apparent to the late Ethiopian dictator, Meles Zenawi. In 2008, senior officials of the ruling party voted for Arkebe to lead the politburo. Arkebe, however, declined to take the leadership position out of fear of upsetting Meles, who had held the chairmanship since 1991.

Sources in Addis have said Debretsion Gebremichael, the current Deupty Prime Minister and a former spy chief of Ethiopia, is responsible for ordering the arrest of Arkebe. According to reports, Debrestsion sees Arkebe, who supports Bereket, as an obstacle to consolidating his rule over the country.

With Arkebe defection, Bereket Simon, the current Communication Minister and de facto ruler of Ethiopia, is quickly losing allies in the party. Bereket and Debrestsion have been at odds with one another that has split the TPLF party into two rivaling factions.

It should be recalled, this is the fifth major defection of mid to senior Ethiopian officials within the last 9 months, including Getachew Belay, the former Deputy Chief of EFFORT; Kefyalew Azeze, the former Vice Mayor of Addis Ababa; Atakliti Hagos, the former Director of the Federal Civil Service Agency and Junedin Sado, the former Minister of Civil Service.

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Ashorooq (Sudanese)TV Live

Ashorooq is a Dubai-based Sudanese news satalite TV channel. Launched in 2004, Ashorooq features Sudanese news, comedy, drama, film, music, and entertainment.

In addition, Ashorooq regularly airs regional football matches. Since Ethiopia recently qualified for the World Cup, look for Ashorooq to air a few of their games, too.

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